First things first – I think I’ve coined this whole “leftover anorexia” term and I’m feeling called to take a moment here to chuckle at my own irony. (Is it irony? Leftover? Like … leftovers. Like, food. Get it? Oh God, I know. Lame. Possibly insensitive.)
But, it’s another one of those eating disorder topics that seems to be difficult to acknowledge – though my guess is quite a few of us struggle with it.
Yo, hold up. Put down the pitch forks, please.
I write headlines to get your attention.
This is one of them.
Comin’ off 10 days on the east coast – and booooooy did I miss my NYC life.
Sometimes, I don’t know why I left. Sometimes, I know exactly why. It’s a forever battle – so I’m forewarning you that you’re probably about to see an excessive amount of NYC pics.
Every week, I receive a message along the lines of “HAAAAALP. I’m so and so and I have an eating disorder. New to recovery, I’d like to start writing about it. I want to help people and feel like I need that community. How’d you do it?”
In pure honesty, I rarely answer these emails or DMs. Not because I don’t appreciate them – but because it’s quite difficult to pinpoint or understand exactly why my blog seems to resonate with people. If I do answer, I usually say something along the cheesedick, admittedly unhelpful line of “I was lucky – and I wrote with little regard to other people because I didn’t actually think other people would read it. That, in turn, made all the difference.”
Eyeroll. I know.
*Currently listening to: Michael Franti & Spearhead – Hey Hey Hey*
I have this tendency to write with a specific “flavor of the week” song on repeat (I try headphones so my partner doesn’t feel like he’s being sound-waterboarded lolz.)
Thought I’d start noting them in the case that you have interest in listening to my beats – or relate to the music.
This song’s got me in one of those evening shines.
“You gotta live for the one that you love you know
You gotta love for the life that you live you know”
Oh Michael Franti, you’re a babe. Going to see him June 1st at Red Rocks, which is the most magical music pavilion in all the USA land.
Anyway, I digress.
Last week, NEDA published a letter I wrote to kick off Eating Recovery Center’s #MyRecoveryLetter campaign for Eating Recovery Day. (More details on the campaign here…. also, how many times can I use the word ‘recovery’ in two sentences?)
It reminded me: sometimes, I think one of the only reasons I’ve remained so dedicated to writing is the accountability it forces me to maintain.
This morning, a lil mini-documentary about my eating disorder, and recovery aired on Barcroft TV, and what a unique moment in life.
There’s always something to note (like LOLZ on all the “looking into the distance” shots or HEY check out some of the laughable YouTube comments), but I’ll keep it simple.
A reminder today that:
Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. My story is common because I am a white, small, cisgender female who grew up engulfed by “diet and beauty” culture, and the insecurity and expectation that it breeds. That is not to be ignored, but there are millions out there who do not have the same background. Men, women, ethnicities, nationalities, class. I am not the sole representation of what an eating disorder looks like, and will never pretend that I could be or am.
You will never be “sick enough.” You deserve help, no matter your circumstances, religion, shame, or weight.
I had a strong support system when I went to treatment. Most don’t (or they do) and it still means that sometimes they go back to rehab a few times before they get their shit straight. I am still working on what that means in my own life.
Recovery is ever-changing, ever-evolving. That’s why it’s flexible.
It is okay to live with an eating disorder. Recovery is accepting its presence in your life, not ignoring it as “fixed.”
Thank you to my best friend Kim Dyer for being in this, and Kristina Doelling for watching it from her apt in Brooklyn. Thank you to my parents Joanna Byers Hall for putting themselves out there, and being vulnerable to millions as parents of someone with an eating disorder. Thank you to The Renfrew Center for inclusion in the documentary, and taking time out of their lives to participate. Thank you to the camera crew and the producer for not making this salacious. Thank you Bradley’s parents for raising a beautiful child. His life has been the inspiration for so much of my recovery. Shout out to my partner for helping me get through that day, and waking up at 6am.
I am feeling many things, as one does when they see their sniffling face on film. Mostly, I am grateful for the life I have led – in all its ups and downs and side doors and mirrors.
My partner and I have been arguing lately.
Likely because we’re at that point in a relationship where our “quirky” personality traits have lost their lusty splendor, and humanized into regular, every day irritations –
I was clearing the table after dinner last night.
In my view (which is, of course, the only one), I’d been helpful. The loving, easygoing girlfriend.
“Shit, did you clean this pan with soap?” I hear from the far side of the kitchen.
The aforementioned monologue in mind, I gripped down on the white plates that now peculiarly resembled killer frisbees:
An exasperated sigh. “Damn, okay. This one can’t be cleaned with soap or it ruins the bottom.”
He stared at it like a child grieving ice cream that just fell out of the cone.
I lost it in that beautiful way people sometimes do. Slowly, subtly, and then with a rip-roaring bang.
It’s always easy to consider ourselves even-tempered, until we’re not.
Heavy-hearted, I write today.
Truth is, this headline is declarative. I have no idea why you relapse.
As I sit here in a coffee shop – mulling through this post – I got a call from a close friend.
“Have you talked to X lately?”
“No… He dropped off a couple months ago and stopped answering me, so I assume he’s relapsed.”
“Linds, it’s bad. Just feel you should know before you hear from anyone else. His liver and kidneys are failing. Was in ICU for 13 days. Respiratory failure. Got out and got back on the painkillers. Sister found him slumped over a coffee table. He’s going to die if he doesn’t get help… and I don’t know if you want to reach back out – but we’re trying anything.”
I stared at my phone.
Stomach sinks. Not because it’s unexpected – but because it’s so expected and yet, no matter how much you can prepare for anything – you never know when the day will just come.
My ex might very likely die, which is two of my exes that I am waiting for that call.
I received it once already – when my best friend fell out of a tree.
And I know it’s only a matter of time these days, before I get it again.
Being a messy person creates a messy life. And I have always held a love for messy people.
Thought it might be a helpful post, this time of holiday year, to remind everyone struggling with eating disorders and recovery and this and that mental illness –
That there is a wide ole’ community in the world that is struggling with you.
That every few people you pass in an airport or on the street, one of them has thought or felt the same way that you have felt. To some degree. In whatever way their reality shapes for them.
I posted a question on Instagram: “What’s the hardest part of holiday season & how has a loved one helped you?”
The responses are varied, but the sentiments are similar.
Made a choice this time 4 years ago — full of fear – walking into rehab:
Perhaps I’ll run around forever — healing my brain and my body — perhaps I’ll fail — and perhaps I’ll never know all of the answers — but maybe I’d never want to, anyway.
S’pose that’s all we need sometimes — the freedom to reshape and believe whatever the hell we need to believe to get on with life.
Spent this morning and night on a roof — only to remember that I’m pretty far from knowing anything — but recognizing a couple things: what I want and how I’m gonna get it.
Laughed with a best friend.
“Get used to your destiny babe,” he said. “Writing – recovery – all that stuff you talk about – it’s part of your life — forever. Accept it and blossom with it.”
We stared at the full moon.